N. Zealand court: voting age of 18 discriminatory

STORY: New Zealand's highest court has ruled the country's voting age of 18 is discriminatory, forcing parliament to debate lowering it to 16.

The Supreme Court found on Monday (November 21) that 18 was inconsistent with the country's Bill of Rights, which gives people a right to be free from age discrimination when they have reached 16.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government would draft legislation which could then be put to a vote in parliament.

“I personally support a decrease in the voting age but it is not a matter simply for me or even the government. Any change in electoral law of this nature requires 75 percent of parliamentarian support. That’s why it’s our view that this is an issue best placed to parliament for everyone to have their say.”

Advocacy group Make It 16 brought the case.

It points out 16 year olds can drive, work full time and pay tax – so why not vote?

On the streets of Auckland though, New Zealanders were divided.

“I do (support) because I feel like they’re slightly more educated – being at school, hopefully – than some of the early 20 year old or mid 20’s that don’t really seem to have much idea of what’s going on in the world.”

“When I was 16 I didn’t have enough knowledge to make a decent decision. No.”

“And I think at that age, you don’t really have life experience, enough to be making those decisions.”

“I think nowadays that kids these days are getting more progressive and that it would be a good idea to have a younger voting age. I think everyone should be able to vote."

Political parties' views are also mixed.

The Green Party supports lowering the voting age to 16 but the largest opposition party, the National party, wants to keep it at 18.